The Chenchu are one among several tribal communities who live in India. They are traditionally defined as a hunter-gatherer community, living primarily in the Nallamalai forests of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, India. However, such a definition provides a very limited understanding of who the Chenchu really are. There are various ways in which communities and groups of people are understood. Tribal and indigenous communities suffer from a very limited and narrow way of being represented and understood. While there are obvious historical and political factors that have contributed to such an understanding, it is my objective as an anthropologist, and someone who has an on-going relationship with the Chenchu to do my bit in dispelling these essentialized representations of the community. FieldworkNarratives is a project that is based primarily on this philosophy.
FieldworkNarratives is a pictorial journal of my fieldwork experiences with minimal text to provide basic information about the pictures. I have used StoryMaps, which is an online tool that facilitates storytelling to design my project. The project design is intentionally kept simple and straight-forward keeping in mind that my target audience is young groups of people between the age-groups 13-20 years. Moreover, I did not want to put too much emphasis on my own narrative, allowing instead for people to form their own ideas.
FieldworkNarratives in an on-going project that I will continue working on as my work with the Chenchu progresses. While this is a small step toward a larger goal which can only be fulfilled in collaboration with more people, I am excited about the launch of this project. The goal is to continue building on this through incorporating people’s suggestions as well broadening the scope of the project itself. For now, I am taking a moment to celebrate (i) my increased knowledge on cultural informatics and online applications, (ii) the first project of a digital format that I have ever created, and (iii) small victories toward long-term goals in my commitment of working with the Chenchu.